Our whole life depends on our habitual responses to almost everything but we must control bad habits
Let's look at how this works. There are thousands of thing we do all of the time that are learned and repeated until they become a habit. For example, you always have a pattern, or step by step procedure that you do everyday without thinking. What sock do you put on first and how do you put it on? When cleaning your teeth, where do you start, top or bottom first; which side first? Take a moment to think about habitual things in your life. Usually, we don't think of these as habits but we do have some very bad habits that you know well, or do you? You better recognise them quickly as they might damage your body and your brain, or kill you. Excess alcohol, drugs, smoking, excessive worrying about something, wrong food, biting nails, using your cellphone when driving. We do have to change them
However to change a habit, we must learn how we obtained them in the first place
When we train an animal we get them to do something by saying a word or making a sound, or making a hand movement. When they do it correctly we give them a reward. After they learn this TRIGGER - ACTION- REWARD sequence, it becomes a habit. If you signal, the animal responds, even if you do not give them a reward. We had to learn how to put on our shoes as children. We were shown how to do it and we practiced and when we got it right we were praised. Now we do need the action command "Put on your shoes" and we not receive any reward. We do not even think about it - it's a habit that we just do.
HOW HARD IS IT TO CHANGE BAD HABITS
Actually, it is quite easy for some things. For example is not hard to stop biting your nails. Just choose one finger to save (the best is one little finger; poor little thing). Give it a chance. Once it has grown, you can manicure it and show it off to its nine companions. When you have the urge to bite your nails, just look at your little success story and spare another until they are all rescued. It works, therefore slight changes over time can either completely remove or modify a bad habit to reduce it to be safe. Some modern cars for example are fitted with hands free voice-activated communications. You can have a conversation, or listen to voiced messages without taking your eyes off the road.
It is important to realise that when something bad happens our brain uses special areas to keep a very detailed step by step record. Then to protect us from doing the same thing ever again it keeps telling us about it. It develops bad habits by doing it too much and unless we tell it to stop we get flash-backs for ever. Some people drown out the noise of this constant never-ending replay of the bad memory, by drinking too much, or developing psychiatric, or other problems. Unlike when we scraped our knees and run to our mother who made us feel better; when we are sexually assaulted, sadly, help is not always available. We recommend reading about our marvelous brain and what it does and why and how it can be changed. We often explain to someone when we do something different by saying "I changed my mind!". Our mind is part of our brain and this statement demonstrates that we can and do change it, so let's see how it works to give us more control.
When reading these links keep in mind that our conscious self is basically the manager of the brain and essential to provide information through our senses that require us to be conscious. The brain can be roughly compared to the software in an autonomous motor vehicle that is now on our streets operating in busy traffic at high speeds without human intervention. Sometimes it may be forced into a situation that the software program (a built-in memory made by many different conscious brains) hasn't covered. For example, a situation where the choice is swerve to miss children running out into the street but to do that, the vehicle will be damaged and the passengers may be killed. Human intervention provides extra moral perceptions and motivations. Our Brain needs consciousness to provide updates and part of those updates include confirmation that our conscious self has learned the lessons before moving flashbacks to a less sensitive section.WHY DO WE REMEMBER BAD THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO US WHY DO WE FORGET OUR KEYS HOW TO BECOME AN EMPOWERTARIAN